Board of Director’s Meeting – Minutes
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Location: online 6:30 p.m.
Attendees: Colin Best (CB), Margaret Lara (ML), Eric Chabot (EC), Alan Cooke (AC), Kristina Tesser Derksen (KTD), Rachel Shuttleworth (RS)
Regrets: Sara Bergsma (SB), Miguel Gonsalves (MG), Joe Taglieri (JT)
AC called the meeting to order at 6:36 pm.
AC asked the board if there was any declaration of pecuniary interest or conflict of interest. No declarations were made.
Review of previous minutes
- CB moved to accept August minutes. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Treasurer’s Report (provided by RS since MG was away):
- Operating expenses on track, additional $20k in expenses this month are related to flower installation and maintenance. Will be incurring flower maintenance costs from June to September.
- Received partial payment for Canada Summer Jobs grants.
- $4k in expenses were spent in July and are not yet reflected in the financial report yet.
- Have spent 58% of budget to date – on track for our spending this year.
- CB moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Entered Stage 3 on July 16, things reopening at Town (facility rentals, programming, etc.)
- Town staff now accepting input, suggestions for 2022 budget. Budget goes to Council in December.
- Town’s Culture Plan ‘Here to Stay’ has been released. Helps create a roadmap for defining culture in Milton, Aims to encourage people to stay in Milton and will drive cultural investment. Suggestions made about spreading investment beyond downtown, but downtown remains an important location for cultural focus, investment. Suggest partnerships with DMBIA, Chamber, etc.
- Entered Step 3 of Reopening Plan. Unknown how long we will be at this step.
- Construction season – Town and Regional crews working on various projects.
- Town and Regional staff working on ‘preferred option’ for Regional Official Plan, which incorporate elements of four other options. This option due to come back to Regional Council in September/October. Plan covers the next 30 years.
- ML moved to accept the Council Reports. RS seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Executive Director’s Report
- Unfortunately, Troy Newton has resigned from Board. Troy had some concerns related to downtown construction, recent downtown projects, etc. AC, CB had recent conversations with Troy as well and heard his perspectives. We are grateful for Troy’s contributions to our board, events and community.
- Outreach needed for new board members. Asking Board members to talk to people in their networks.
- AC – Suggestion to have a strategy session with business owners to get their feedback. How can we generate more footfall downtown? Collect ideas and use that to drive our strategy for 2022 and beyond. There could be lots of emotion as it’s a challenging time.
- CB – Suggest doing another member survey, find out if members want the Farmers’ Market back.
- AC – Find out if members want Market or whether we should do mini-events or activations instead. Could develop a way to encourage market-visitors to come downtown too.
- RS – In our MOU with Town, extra maintenance (extra garbage pick-ups, sweeping, litter, etc.) is based around market dates, festivals. Those moved/cancelled due to COVID so less maintenance is happening. Getting lots of garbage and litter complaints. Need changes made to Town-BIA MOU.
- AC – Concerns about garbage and junk behind Knox. CB to talk to David Miles (Region) about that.
ENHANCED PROMOTION OF THE DOWNTOWN MILTON COMMUNITY AND ITS BUSINESSES
- Confirmation received today that we were are receiving a Reconnect Ontario grant, $23k for HolidayFest. Looking forward to a great event. COVID still a risk. Funds to be spent by March 2022. Reconnect has to be matched by funds from other sources.
- Town has dollars in 2021 budget for DMSF 2021. Since event was cancelled, Town said we can write a proposal requesting the reallocation of these dollars to other downtown events/purposes.
- Farmers’ Market – Considering using the BIA booth for our own staff and general downtown promotions for a couple weeks. CB said 2,400 market had attendees last week
- Self-guided walking tour with QR codes – In cooperation with the Milton Historical Society, exploring ways to create a self-guided tour of downtown, showing history of important buildings and highlighting current businesses. Could incorporate QR codes, printed cards. Possible costs: design, printing, etc.
- Music on Main – Working with local music schools and hosting music at two locations on a Friday evening. Good opportunity to go through the revised event application process.
- Tiny Tots Trick or Treat – Planning for October 30. Event is based on having kids collect items from many locations – looking into public health rules around this.
- EC – Ask businesses to stay behind the table for Tiny Tots, and visitors in front of it to maintain 2-meter distance. Ensure visitors stay outdoors for event.
- AC & EC – Could look at a longer period of time or have specific time slots for visitors.
INCREASED FOCUS ON ATTRACTION OF NEW BUSINESSES
- Should BIA explore doing artwork or branded window wrap for use in vacant units?
- AC – Retailer’s perspective will be that those dollars are better spent supporting the businesses.
- EC – Branded wraps could make vacancy look like a permanent problem, but it isn’t for us.
- How active should/can the BIA be in trying to help fill vacant spaces?
- EC – Leave this to the real estate agents. Pass along contact information to interested businesses but don’t need to intervene much further. There is demand for space so the market will fill the spaces.
- CB – Town Economic Development department supports commercial real estate requests.
- RS – In the past we’ve generally had 2-3 space inquiries/month. No inquiries for a couple months.
ENHANCED ADVOCACY WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON KEY ISSUES AFFECTING DOWNTOWN
- Town’s Economic Development Dept – Seeking volunteers to participate in sessions to help them formulate their strategic plan. Opportunity to help ensure interests of small business are reflected.
- What actions we can take to support businesses through future construction projects?
- CB – Give as much notice as possible.
- KTD – Councillors to ask staff to give DMBIA as much notice as possible for construction projects so business can plan. Unfortunately, construction season coincides with patio season. Important to maintain roads because if they are a mess, no one wants to come downtown. Where possible councillors can try to influence planning schedule to minimize disruptions for businesses.
ENHANCED DOWNTOWN EXPERIENCE FOR BUSINESSES AND VISITORS THROUGH BEAUTIFICATION EFFORTS
- Used snow diamond LED decorations for sale from another BIA at a discounted rate. Would need to purchase additional brackets. Asking price is around $13k, plus annual storage and maintenance costs. Wouldn’t work on Mill St. poles, might work on Mary St. poles. Need to confirm with the Town.
- CB – Concern about damage from wind. Could try to buy a few to decorate specific areas.
- KTD – Wouldn’t match our new wreath colours. Could be used in a specific areas, off Main St., etc.
- AC, CB could go see them if Town says it’s ok to use them downtown.
- AC – Option to try to negotiate lower storage rates or could use other half of his storage bin.
- EC – Skinnier than the wreaths, could get rid of some wreaths or store some more permanently. Ask Classic Displays about lifespan of LEDs.
- CB moved to accept the ED Report. ML seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- CB – Santa Claus parade moving ahead pending health department approvals – November 21. Possibility of putting out chairs that can be sponsored or rented.
- CB moved to adjourn. EC seconded the motion. Motion passed.
- Meeting adjourned at 7:45 pm.